US Pharm. 2009;34(2):HS-16. 

A research team from France reported that a minor change in TP53, a gene that produces a tumor-suppressing protein, seems to increase the risk of developing glioblastoma multiforme, a deadly brain tumor, at an earlier age. Reporting in Neurology, the researchers said that a change in the TP53 gene was linked to various cancers but its relationship to glioblastoma was not known, explained lead author Dr. Marc Sanson. The researchers at Hospital de la Salpetriere in Paris examined DNA from 254 patients with glioblastoma and 238 healthy subjects. They found that the TP53 gene expressed as frequently in patients with glioblastoma and healthy subjects, but that it occurred significantly more often in patients younger than 45 years.

The researchers believe testing for the gene and other genetic characteristics may "help to identify individuals who are genetically susceptible to develop glioblastoma, and at an earlier age."

Glioblastomas kill half of its victims within one year, and survival beyond three years is unusual. Last May, Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts), 76, was diagnosed with this type of brain tumor.

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